File puptcrit/puptcrit.0811, message 307


To: puptcrit-AT-puptcrit.org
Date: Wed, 19 Nov 2008 01:36:59 -0600
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Gift Economy


On Nov 18, 2008, at 7:26 PM, malgosia askanas wrote:
> Michael, I want to move where you live.  Where I live, I hear of
> hundreds of thousands of people currently losing their jobs, savings
> and homes, and I find it hard to agree with your contention that we
> are moving towards a Gift Economy.  And I certainly haven't noticed
> material things getting better.  To the contrary, they seem to be
> getting ever more crappy, unusable and toxic.   I wouldn't want them
> even if they _were_ a gift - which they most certainly are not.
>
> -m

If I gave the impression that the Gift Economy that I advocate exists  
now, I must apologize for the astonishingly inarticulateness and lack  
of clarity of my writing.

My world, our world, is dominated by a hyper capitalist Exchange  
economy. The present economic meltdown that harms all but the wealthy,  
their paid speculators, gamblers and servants is not sustainable. It  
has never been sustainable. When the great depression of the 20th  
Century happened, it was a warning, sign and inevitable. A variety of  
corrections were available, even though severely limited by  
nationalism and technology. The USA's way out was a world war.

The present worldwide fiscal chaos could lead to a rethinking, re- 
visioning of the economy. But the Gift Economy I advocate will, even  
under the best conditions, will take decades if not longer. I  
certainly will be gone  before the Gift replaces Exchange. My hope is  
that the seeds I plant will improve my children's world and their  
children's.

But even in the depth of this mess there are glimpses of change away  
from the old rules that have dominated the world exchange economies.  
Example, between 1971 and 1989 a standard 17-cubic foot refrigerator  
declined in price by a third while becoming 27% more energy efficient  
and adding new features, such as ice-making. In 1988 Radio Shack sold  
a cell phone for $1,500. Ten years later they list a better one for  
$200. Now an even better one, sometimes with a camera, is less than  
$50 or even offered free as a come-on for a cell phone plan. Here in  
Milwaukee, Cricket Communications is setting up and offering prices  
for phone and broadband that are giving Ameritech and Time warner a  
run for their money. Many if not most people under 30 do not even have  
a wired phone, just a cell.

In California, Apple wanted to give computers away free to students  
because they knew the money was in software and OS upgrades. The state  
would not let them. Someday the state will get out of the way, maybe.

- moynihan



- moynihan

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